• Steven Marsh

The Unconditional Love of the Triune God Beckons Us To Serve–Love, Faith and Fact: a Reflectio

God’s story has embraced you and writes meaning making significance into your existence. And you in turn are a meaning maker to and with others. Trevor Hart in Making Good makes this connection that our partnership with God for making good is both eucharistic and eschatological. That is, our co-creating meaning with God is about the Table and the fulfillment of God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, because it is rooted in “…the vicarious self-substitution of Christ for us, and opened out by the work of the Spirit of Christ in and through you in the direction of that New Creation promised by the Father.”[1]

Scott Sabin, the Executive Director of Plant With Purpose, addressing Trevor Hart’s point of humans partnering with God in the creative work of “making good,” relates the story of an Episcopal priest who partnered with his organization to love and work with the people in the mountains of Haiti. Sabin writes,

As we sat in the dark, he [the Episcopal priest] told us how happy he was that God had given him a task. “God gives each of us something to do for him. It’s as if he gathered us together and said to each of us, ‘I have a very important job for you.’ It makes me happy that God has something for me to do. I feel excited!” But after a pause he said, “Can you imagine how it would feel if he [God] said to you ‘I have nothing for you to do?’ So many of the people in these mountains think they have nothing to give.”[2]

Ponder the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Jesus did not say, “I have nothing for you to do.” He did say, “I have a very important job for you.”

The texts in Isaiah 1:1, 10-20, Luke 12:32-40 and Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16 affirm this fact: faithfulness matters; God’s and ours. The prophet Isaiah confirms that despite our unfaithfulness, God remains faithful. From Luke, we are exhorted to be ready to love and act as Jesus did. And the writer of Hebrews encourages us to be faithful. We are to experience fidelity in our relationships, workplaces, choices and church. These are facts my friends.[3]

God’s unconditional love beckons you to allow God to serve you and you in turn to serve others. John Stott, citing the Lausanne Covenant in Christian Mission in the Modern World,writes,

…We affirm that God is both Creator and the Judge of all men. We therefore should share his concern for justice and reconciliation throughout human society and for the liberation of men from every kind of oppression. Because mankind is made in the image of God, every person, regardless of race, religion, color, culture, class, sex or age, has an intrinsic dignity because of which he should be respected and served, not exploited….Although reconciliation with man is not reconciliation with God, nor is social action evangelism, nor is political liberation salvation, nevertheless we affirm that evangelism and socio-political involvement are both part of our Christian duty….the salvation we claim should be transforming us in the totality of our personal and social responsibilities.[4]

Be embraced by and embrace God’s unconditional love. Jesus will live his life through you.

Rest in God’s love. Exercise faith. Salvation is a fact. Serving in God’s mission of inclusive well-being of all in covenantal community is both a journey and a series of arrivals. No matter how young or old, once we say yes to Jesus, the journey with God takes on a new dimension. God has something for each of us to do. Enjoy the arrivals on the journey. Be the best neighbors. Divest yourself from things that inhibit faithfulness. Commit yourself to the rule of Christ. The Table speaks. Love, faith and fact.

[1]Trevor Hart, Making Good (Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press, 2014), chapter 14, page 417 in the Nook edition.

[2]Scott Sabin in The Sower(Summer 2016), 4.

[3]In this paragraph, I am indebted to Ronald J. Allen, Emrys Tyler, R. Alan Culpepper, Stephen Farris, Scot McKnight and Joshua W. Jipp in Joel B. Green, Thomas G. Long, Luke A. Powery and Cynthia L. Rigby, editors, Connections, Year C, Volume 3 (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2019),217-218, 219-221, 229-231, 231-232, 225-227 and 227-228.

[4]John Stott and Christopher J. H. Wright, Christian Mission in the Modern World (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2015), 155.

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